Editor's note: I just learned that JPL PAO media reps do not have the ability to get email 24/7. According to a JPL PAO source, JPL simply "does not have the money to provide Blackberry's to their staff". First of all, please tell me just how much that would cost for the PR employees of an arm of NASA (albeit a contractor), all of whom use nasa.gov email addresses, whose parent organization manages a substantial portion of NASA's space missions. What happens if news breaks (and it does) after business hours? Secondly: Earth to JPL: it is now possible to get email on Treos and handheld devices other than Blackberry's - even really cheap phones. Call Rent-A-Geek and they will set it up for you. Thirdly: for an entity whose amazing people can reach across billions of miles to reprogram 30 year old spacecraft now travelling outside our solar system, this has just got to be plain embarassing. You guys want to help build the Interplanetary Internet - and your PAO staff shuts off email after hours?
Reader note: "Please do not post my name or email address, as JPL still shoots messengers. The JPL PAO excuse does not ring true. Virtually all JPL managers have, or have access to either Blackberries or Treos. The Treos seem to be more prevalent. Probably due to pricing. FWIW, almost everyone on my team has a Treo, and we are just worker bees. Also FWIW, it's inconvenient as hell to have a cell phone with a built in camera when you frequent places where cameras aren't allowed."
Reader note (a veteran space journalist): "Some PAO at several NASA centers have the addictive blackberries. I'd say JPL PAO doesn't want them. They are, by far, rank lowest in returning phone calls and setting up interviews of any PAO shop I've dealt with across NASA or DOD or even private industry. NASA HQ comes in second, but I believe JPL PAO people think if they just ignore it, then it will go away. So, if they are "reachable" 24/7 (or more than they are now) then it will probably just go away."